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how to teach grammar

The problem wasn’t necessarily grammar itself: it was the way it has been taught. As if grammar was a standalone subject where random sentences were divided into their constituent grammatical parts.

In acquisition approach, the study of grammar and memorizing vocabulary is not the end of the learning and assessment, but means to help us know what is possible in the language, and so we can get the job done grammatically creative for different situations. So, grammar is not linguistic straight jackets and rules; it is how creativity manifests itself in language.

The primary way to teach grammar

Here’s the idea: we do not acquire grammar and vocabulary primarily not through out-of-context grammar drilling, e.g. underline adjective, circling the noun, filling in the blank with the right structure, matching picture and words.

This kind of out-of-context drilling activities does neither help us to acquire the grammar/vocabulary nor uncover the beauty in the language. This work doesn’t uncover the beauty of the English language, nor does it it unleash creativity in our children. It may even do the opposite as it shapes students to the writing that serves no real expressive or communicative purpose, but reduced their thought to just finding and getting the ‘right’ answer.

The primary way to acquire grammar and vocabulary is through experiencing exemplary literature (and meaningful conversations and language-rich activities around it). This is where grammar is real. This is where we acquire the ways in which we can play with language to achieve our intentions.

In great text, we are immersed into ways how the author uses their language knowledge and how they organize their words and sentences to make us notice, feel, see or imagine something.


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